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Beyond Perception

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The Cowboys have been relatively quiet this off season, and we are about the witness the last move in this free agency period at least until the draft. Roy Williams has asked to be released or traded by the end of the day today, though I wouldn't expect a release since the Cowboys would take a considerable hit in the cap area. So I thought we'd take a look at the Cowboys moves in a "Perception Versus Reality" aspect.

A week ago the Cowboys made a jaw dropping move by trading a perceived valuable corner back for a "washed up" Quarterback in John Kitna. Our perceptions are typically based on media, bad tape, and yes even playing video games. But this is reality. The market this year wasn't great for Quarterbacks, especially backups...Sure there was Byron Leftwich, Jeff Garcia, Kurt Warner-but good luck getting them to agree to a back up roll. John Kitna is a proven jump starter, not flashy, not a star, but solid! He adds the arm strength and accuracy to at least solidify our offense in times of need with huge playmakers like Witten, Owens and Barber. Like it or not (and I like it) Tony Romo is our Quarterback and I wouldn't have it any other way, so give me a John Kitna as a band aid when small scrapes come along.

Now I'm not stupid and I get frustrated with GM Jerry, but I am getting viciously frustrated with the fair weather fan; who doesn't understand and verbally slaughters the Keith Brooking signing. This isn't rocket science, Keith has had a legitimately great career and though he didn't make a lot of show stopping plays last year, he has that potential. You're talking about implementing a great player, at a cheap price, in a scheme where he was consistently flourishing. Not to mention he brings leadership unseen since Darren Woodson, and he'll be able to teach our younger linebackers. He is instant stability in a defense lacking ferociousness.

Lastly, Roy Williams. A great player. We shouldn't expect much, maybe a 3rd or 4th rounder at best. But let me say this: Was he beat in coverage? Yes. Was he inconsistent? Absolutely. But when he flashed, HE FLASHED! Bone Jarring Tackles, and he instilled fear. 5 pro bowls will say it all... Some years were harder than others but I appreciate what he has done. If he goes you'll never hear me say anything negative.

It's easy to get caught in the opinion that is often influenced by media, but perception is not reality in all cases, lets not judge these books by their cover....



Former Sports Writer. Veteran. Serving veterans is my passion. Johns Hopkins Student. Enjoy Discussing Politics and sports!

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. mike

    March 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Now those are reasonable thoughts I can agree with , although I think if Jerry could get a 3rd rd pick for Roy it would be done instantly. I figured they were going to cut him after they picked up a safety or two in the draft or possibly a fa at the right price. They would take a cap hit of course but it would still be cheaper than keeping him.

  2. bags030404

    March 4, 2009 at 8:23 am

    First of all there is absolutely no way anyone gives up a 3rd for Roy “I can no longer tackle” Williams. Flash? This guy has not “flashed” in several years! As far as his Pro Bowls go, I will give him credit for 2 of those! The rest were completely bogus! I have had to suffer, like all other Cowboy fans through years of watching him point the finger at someone else for him missing his assignments. I completely agree with you on all your other assumptions, but I must disagree with you here. Welcome to the site, and very nice article!

  3. Bryson Treece

    March 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Yep, a 3rd is going to be too high with how his last three years have been, and there aren’t any teams in the league right now desperate enough to do that for a safety, except maybe Dallas.

    I actually figured a 4th to be at best, but expect to see a 5th if he gets traded. I don’t see him getting traded though, since teams know by waiting they’ll get him cheaper, and without compensating Dallas for him.

  4. Bryan Martin

    March 4, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I don’t think that Roy is a bad player in the RIGHT scheme. The problem is, what is the right scheme? a 4-3 maybe? I think that a team with the right scheme knows that….so at best you could see a 3rd but it is probably unlikely, but in my defense i did say at best. I do however definitely appreciate your compliments, and thank you for giving me opinions from a different spectrum! Hope you continue to read!

  5. Teisha Varnedoe

    October 28, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I actually appreciate this post. We need to have way more folks like you bringing value towards the community. Can I put this post on my blog? I’d give you credit and link back of course.

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Dallas Cowboys

Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?

Sean Martin

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Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?

The Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss at the Los Angeles Rams is still fresh on the minds of their players, staff, and front office. So much so that the team had to fan the flames on a Jason Garrett comment expecting Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan to return. Garrett himself walked back this "report" once Stephen Jones noted it's still too early for any coaching staff changes. The focus will remain on Linehan's post until it's removed or the Cowboys OC is retained, but one coordinator the Cowboys now expect to keep is Rod Marinelli on defense.

Marinelli himself disputed the season-long belief that this was likely his last as the Cowboys defensive coordinator. With Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard not taking any of the three HC positions he interviewed for, Marinelli doesn't have to worry about shuffling his title to accommodate Richard - who called the plays from week one this season anyway.

Rod's title does include his specialty as defensive line coach though, a unit that the Rams dominated with their offensive line to a historic degree. The Rams' season-high 273 rushing yards was provided by both Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson surpassing 100 yards on the ground, the first time in team history they've had two backs reach this mark in a single playoff game.

Rams HC Sean McVay hardly had to reach into his vaunted 'bag of tricks' to expose the Cowboys defense in a way they hadn't been all year, but there was still an element of brilliance in his offensive game plan. It came out after the game that the Rams picked up on the keys the Dallas defensive linemen used to signal stunts and twists before the snap. While this is nothing more than just great scouting yielding an unforeseen advantage, it's left the Cowboys with more than enough time to ponder what went wrong in the Coliseum.

Danny Heifetz on Twitter

The Rams offensive line knew what the Cowboys defensive line was going to do before the snap on Saturday. https://t.co/oGo6Eiz4av

The answer to this may be nothing other than the coaching questions the Cowboys are already considering. With Richard's interviews in Tampa Bay, Miami, and New York coming at the beginning of the week leading up to game day, it's possible Marinelli had a larger say in the Cowboys preparation on defense.

It was Marinelli's defense that conceded 412 yards to the Rams in 2017 in a loss at AT&T Stadium. Matching him up with McVay leaves a lot to be desired, while Richard helps bridge this gap - something he was seen desperately trying to do on the sideline with a battered Cowboys defense.

As each day of the offseason passes, a change at either coordinator position becomes less likely in Dallas. On offense, the play caller has more than a season's worth of evidence showing the deficiencies of the Cowboys attack. In a league fueled by recency bias however, Marinelli certainly didn't leave his best performance on the field in Los Angeles.

Somewhere in the middle of this is Jason Garrett, safely in place as the head coach that should be personally trying to upgrade his top two assistants however possible. Marinelli signing up for another year makes this hard on defense, though Richard should resume play calling duties next season.

Again, this leaves the onus of the Cowboys improvements for 2019 on the offensive side of the ball, something that'll be realized when the shock of their defense letting them down in the biggest game of the season is gone.

Tell us what you think about "Did DC Rod Marinelli Have Increased Role in Cowboys Loss at Rams?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Getting Over $30 Million Cap Space from Expiring Dead Money

Jess Haynie

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Tony Romo, Dez Bryant

You may have already heard that the Dallas Cowboys will be flush with salary cap space in 2019, and that's very accurate. A huge portion of it comes from over $30 million in expiring cap penalties, otherwise known as "dead money."

Quick explanation; dead money occurs when a player is released or retires prior to the expiration of their contract. Any guaranteed money, such as the original signing bonus or money converted in a restructuring, that has not yet been paid out according to the contract schedule is accelerated.

For example, when Tony Romo retired after 2016, he still had $19.6 million in guaranteed money owed to him. Dallas chose to split this dead money over two years, and thus had a $10.7 cap penalty in 2017 and $8.9 million last season.

But now Romo's dead money, along with Dez Bryant's and several other players, is coming off the Cowboys' books. The result is a roughly $30 million infusion of salary cap space for 2019.

Here were the major culprits for last year's dead money:

(All cap figures are taken from Spotrac.com)

  • QB Tony Romo - $8.9 million
  • WR Dez Bryant - $8 million
  • DT Cedric Thornton - $2.5 million
  • CB Orlando Scandrick - $2.3 million
  • CB Nolan Carroll - $2 million
  • WR Deonte Thompson - $1.8 million
  • DE Benson Mayowa - $1.1 million
  • K Dan Bailey - $800 thousand
  • TE James Hanna - $750 thousand

Those players alone make up a little over $28 million. Another $4 million or so came from over 30 players with lesser penalties that still added up.

Right now, the Cowboys have only $1.76 million in dead money on their 2019 salary cap. Nearly all of that is the $1.6 million still owed to Orlando Scandrick.

That difference is where the cap space comes from, and it will be of tremendous help to Dallas as they have major financial moves coming. They need to re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence, deal with a major salary bump for Amari Cooper, and consider a contract extension for Dak Prescott.

The 2019 number will change, of course, as the offseason rolls on. If Dallas elects to release players like Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, or others, some dead money will appear. But that will be offset by whatever cap savings motivated the move in the first place.

This is a good reminder of why the Cowboys' new era of fiscal conservatism is a good thing. After years of what felt like perpetual "salary cap hell," they are finally getting out from under those penalties and have complete flexibility this offseason. They may not even need to cut a guy like Crawford, who they almost would have been forced to in past seasons.

We'll be talking a lot more about individual players and their contracts in the weeks ahead, but this summary helps us see that Dallas isn't nearly up against the financial wall as they have been. We still miss guys like Romo and Dez, but we won't miss that awful dead money in 2019.



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Player News

Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

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Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.



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